During an after-work conversation (with too much wine I might add) the topic of photography came up. Well, I work for a company that sells stock photography, so this topic wasn’t too surprising.
So there we sat, talking about the inconceivable volume of images produced everyday, or every minute; how ubiquitous high-quality digital cameras have become, thanks to smartphones; and how easy it is to share our lives through pictures at any moment, not matter where we are.
It’s hard to comprehend trying to organize the volume of content created today. Our host that evening believed that the majority of what gets recorded is lost in a digital black-hole, never to be seen again. To some extend that might be true, but the internet is doing a damn good job of scaling to the point were it costs almost nothing to share almost everything. (For example, it was recently reported that every minute, thirty-five hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.)
The post-camera world
I’m not sure if it was the wine or not, but a thought flashed in to my mind in that moment. Sitting in a room with friends from all over the globe I started fast-forwarding into the future.
“Extrapolate the current trend,” I exclaimed.
“Extrapolate what has been happening with photography for the past 10 years.”
“Extrapolate what photography is and what it has been doing since it was invented 200 years ago—recording moments in time for others to view.”
“At some point, we won’t take pictures anymore. Our lives will be continuously recorded, archived, and shared.”
I wasn’t scared by this line of thinking. It was pleasing to know that I could, at any moment retrieve the experiences of anyone else and view events as if I was there, and that I wouldn’t have to be selective about what I photographed or even be active in the process. It would just happen.
So, imagine a world where everything is being photographed or recorded, all the time. Imagine a world where you never really miss any event. Where everything is being shared constantly.
Is this world really that far away?